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Corpus Bones! Mystery Skeleton

March 5, 2007

American_snout_butterflyChers Amis,

Some of you might be wondering if we ever do any school beyond nature study.  We do, really!  But 3rd and 4th grade spelling and grammar aren’t nearly as interesting as the finds we make outdoors.  Squeamish, we are not and it is amazing what we find on our two tiny acres.  Yesterday, we saw four deer run through our backyard, raccoon and opossum tracks by the creek, fish – yet to be identified, an American Snout butterfly, and a hawk nesting in the southeast corner of our property! That is separate post to come!

Caddie and my beloved dh went for their weekly bike ride Sunday afternoon to visit with100_1088 the neighbors and scope out the burgeoning construction (depressing.)  Caddie always comes home with some new find.  Yesterday, it was a pile of bleached mammal bones enrobed in silver fur.  She had carefully arranged it on a curl of pine bark and balanced it on her handlebars for the ride home.  Dad was not entirely happy.

The highlight of her day today was being able to lay it out on the deck table for examination. We think that it is the remains of a grey squirrel (sorry, squirrel lovers 😦 but have been unable to find a link on line to compare rabbit and squirrel skeletons.  Most of the remains are missing – only the pelvis,  two femurs, two radius (radii?), and a partial tibia remain.  Oh, and a  skull fragment. We probably don’t have enough to make a good ID, but I found this link to a lab guide for Mammology.  It is a BIT too heavy for reading, but has really nice illustrations of  basic mammal bones.  I think I will have Caddie sketch some of the important bones, measure them, and label the drawings.  She has an excellent eye, but her drawing/handwriting skills need work.   This might help her learn the parts of the bones (shaft, condyles, head etc.) so she can notice differences in size and shape when she inevitably comes across – or digs up – the next skeleton. Sigh. I must admit that of all my classes in college my favorite, or second favorite archeo/anthro class, was Human Osteology. I never went back for comparative anatomy – shoot!  Bones are really interesting if you look at them as God’s scaffolding  and forget that whole morbidity thing :-)! If you aren’t grossed out by bones here is a link to a Red Squirrel Skeleton you can virtually re-articulate.

Some day I will write about something beyond nature study!  I promise!   I have one with tips on how to have a great Children’s book club that I need to finish – OK, after the hawk post 🙂

— Marjorie

2 Comments leave one →
  1. March 5, 2007 7:14 pm

    I read part of this post to my husband, and he laughed. Sounds so much like my Katydid. 😉 I never got around to taking Human Osteology, even though I wanted to every semester… I was a cultural anthropology major, and for some reason I thought I was being “practical” by taking all those liberal arts classes that fit my major better instead of complementing with the science classes I would have enjoyed. Oh, to have the chance to do it all over again…

  2. March 7, 2007 12:33 am

    I for one always love your finds! Never too much nature study.

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